Air cargo spot rates fall as capacity returns

Date Added: 3 November 2022

Air cargo spot rates fall as capacity returns

With a strong presence in the airfreight arena through our subsidiary Davies Turner Air Cargo, we note that airfreight spot rates dropped last month below 2021 for the first time this year as capacity returns to the market, according to CLIVE Data Services.

They are down 9% year-on-year in September, continuing the downward trend since the start of the year, pointing to a deteriorating air cargo market.

In September, general cargo spot rates continued to fall below seasonal rates though seasonal capacity constraints out of East Asia were more resistant than ocean freight.

Ocean freight spot rates from Asia to Europe were down 49% compared to 19% for airfreight.

Global cargo demand measured in chargeable weight continued its negative trend by dropping 5% year-on-year in September and down 2% compared to 2019.

Declining volumes come as airlines reintroduce passenger and cargo capacity from east Asia, most notably Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan as Covid restrictions get lifted.

Global capacity was up 5% on last September and is just 7% below 2019.

Declining demand and rising capacity has pushed the dynamic load factor down 7 percentage points year-on-year to 59%, 2 percentage points down on September 2019.

Clive Data Services said that what is being seen is a very ‘jumpy’ air cargo market which responds very quickly to global events, whether this is the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, rising inflation, the pressure on Sterling, or the stronger US dollar. It’s still early to judge how such events will be reflected in the air freight market over the rest of this year but we see no indications that demand will pick up from a macroeconomic perspective.

It added that if you look into the the peak season, you can see a flat air cargo market in terms of demand, but the fall in general air freight rates and load factors are likely to be exacerbated by the continuing return of capacity, even as we head towards a winter season when, traditionally, we would expect to see cargo space in the prime Europe and North America markets cut back. Shippers who have held their nerve and not shipped their peak season goods early by air are likely to find themselves in a stronger buying position.

In the IATA/CASS league table for 2020, Davies Turner Air Cargo was the UK’s highest placed independent freight forwarder, measured by CASS airline tonnage.

For more information about the Davies Turner group’s global air freight forwarding and logistics services, please contact or visit

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